How I Photograph Your Wedding
How I Photograph Your Wedding
My approach to documenting a wedding is rather simple. I stay out of the way at your wedding so I can photograph the events as they happen organically. I want to capture the genuine expressions of emotion on this day. That works best when nobody notices me – their full attention is on you, and I get to preserve those moments in a collection of images that will last forever.
Here’s how I cover the six major elements of a wedding day:
BRIDE GETTING READY
Your “getting ready” photos are among my favorite images of the day. There is always so much energy and anticipation in the room. I like to start about 90 minutes before you finish so I can capture plenty of candids and details. When I arrive, I introduce myself to everyone so they can feel comfortable and forget that I’m there. I know the must-have images you’ll want, and I usually ask the maid of honor to help me round up those details – shoes, invitations, save-the-dates, dress, jewelry, flowers, etc. – so you don’t have to worry about it. Getting those takes about 20 or 30 minutes, and by then everybody is used to the camera in the room. I then go on to document the really important stuff: your relationship with your closest girlfriends. I might make small professional suggestions, like putting on the jewelry after the dress or standing near a window so I can show you in the best light.
GROOM GETTING READY
The groom gets ready too, so that’s part of the story. I make those pictures quick and painless – round up and shoot the details, then step back and let the guys hang out while I capture those moments of sharing old stories and maybe a couple of drinks. I’ll photograph when he opens your gift or letter, and when the guys put on their cufflinks and tie their bow ties.
The ceremony is a highlight of the day, the aim of all the anticipation. Your grand kids will be looking at these pictures someday, and they’ll want to see more than your dress – they’ll want to see who you really were that day. Of course I’ll shoot your walk down the aisle, your groom’s face seeing you for the first time, the first kiss after you’re pronounced man and wife – but what I am really looking for are those special moments – the quick little smile he gives you while the preacher is talking, or your laugh when he whispers something funny to you.
We usually take the family photos right after your ceremony, while everybody is together. This way, we don’t have to interrupt the reception later. About a month before the wedding, I’ll send you an online questionnaire with a checklist of possible family formal combinations. You check the ones you want. I’ll be sure to complete your list, and I’m always happy to shoot any you want to add at the event. You can send a quick email to those people alerting them to the plan and asking them to stick around after the ceremony for maybe 20 or 30 minutes.
RELAXED AND REAL PORTRAITS
It’s important for you to feel relaxed and comfortable even during the formal session. You just got married, you are radiantly beautiful, and everybody is all smiles. I want to help keep that going, not interrupt it, even with my subtle suggestions – so the pictures capture the joy of the moment.
The reception usually brings out more waves of emotion than the ceremony. The lights go down for your first dance, and your maid of honor is telling how much she loves you during her toast. At this time of the night I’m not just just a photographer, but friends with your guests, and I can capture them in their natural expressions. From the start of the cocktail hour all the way through the last dance, I’m looking for laughter, tears, and ridiculous moves on the dance floor.